Two weeks ago our community came together provide a safe, drug and alcohol free night for the graduates of Southeast Bulloch High School. Project Graduation 2011 was a huge success! 154 students showed up at The Clubhouse at 11 p.m. on graduation night to have a final party with their friends.
Throughout the night they bowled, played laser tag, and played in the ballocity cage. They listened to music by Cold Duck Time, a band made up of students at SEB. Many thanks to Jake Manahan, James Varner, and Chaz Wilson who played most of the night entertaining their fellow classmates. (We also saw Matt Olsen playing with the guys!)
The graduates earned “Jacket Bucks” by participating in all of the above activities plus singing, dancing, doing stunts and lots of other fun activities. At the end of the night, they bid on items that were donated or bought with donated money. Every senior walked away with a nice prize and great memories.
It required a lot of work by a group of dedicated parents, who met for months making plans and soliciting donations from area businesses. Those businesses are the backbone of the night, without whom we could not have done it! Through their willingness to give back to the community, Project Graduation came together in a way that we could not have imagined.
We have a thank you ad in today's paper, and we have tried to include everyone that helped in some way, but we fear we have overlooked someone who was kind and generous enough to give to us. We had so many donors that came in at the last minute that it was hard to keep up with everyone. If someone was inadvertently left off of our list, please accept our most sincere apologies.
There are a few people that merit a second thank you because of their untiring efforts on our behalf. Katherine Wellman came to our meetings offering wise advice and financial help in mailing our letters to parents and businesses through Grants to Reduce Alcohol Abuse. Ellen Scripture, media center specialist at SEBHS, sold tickets to Project Graduation because she believed in what we were doing and knew we needed all the help we could get!
Spencer Beckham not only provided a grant through Drug Free Communities, he came to our meetings and paved the way for us to use The Clubhouse. We'd also like to thank Darin Van Tassell, Tony Ross and Mary Allison Ross, owners of The Clubhouse, who worked with us to provide a wonderful location for our event. They were gracious and helpful in accommodating our needs and we enjoyed our time there very much. Their employees that stayed with us all night were awesome and went beyond the call of duty to help us, even going so far as to act as auctioneer when ours did not show up!
Thanks to Jim Healy, who I met at a SEB soccer game, for getting Jeff Harrison to write such a nice article for this newspaper. I really appreciate his help in getting the word out! We also had a group of parents and teachers that stayed with us for most of the night and we are so thankful to them for ensuring that the night was all it was meant to be.
It was a big undertaking, but we have a community with a big heart. Thanks to all who made this year's Project Graduation a night to remember!
Chairman, Project Graduation 2011